It’s a sad state of affairs when your goalkeeper is the Man of the Match. It certainly implies a lot about the way the rest of your team played if the man between the sticks is getting all the praise.
However, as United scraped past Derby at Pride Park, following the absolute thrashing Chelsea dished out to them in the previous game, it was our goalkeeper who received all the plaudits.
It wasn’t Edwin Van der Sar though, rather, Ben Foster, making his debut for United after spending the previous two seasons on loan or out injured.
The Times: While the scoreline indicates that Cristiano Ronaldo was Manchester United’s match-winner, Ben Foster, the young England goalkeeper who had been obliged to wait three years for this day, deserved a share of the plaudits as his team regained leadership of the Barclays Premier League. When the bottom team, galvanised by surviving an onslaught for the first 38 minutes in a cup-tie atmosphere, realised that they were in with half a chance, Foster came into his own. But for his two brilliant saves from Kenny Miller’s shots within 60 seconds near the end of the first half, Derby could have been eyeing a shock victory.
The Sun: If ever there was a footballer who deserved to be rewarded for his patience, then it is Ben Foster. Three years at Stoke City — nil appearances. Three more years at Manchester United — a similar story until Saturday. Yet the young goalkeeper already has an England cap to his name. Foster made two brilliant saves from Kenny Miller in a 60-second spell of a match which threatened to leave boss Ferguson more flushed than usual.
Is this the kind of player we want to be sending away from Old Trafford on a season-long loan?
Reports today suggest that Aston Villa are lining up a deal to bring Foster to Villa Park for the duration of the 2008-2009 season. After completing a successful loan period at Watford the season before last and his name being linked to the future England number 1 position, it seems as though everyone wants to get in on the action.
It is my firm belief that Edwin Van der Sar should begin next season as our starting goalkeeper. I find it strange that he receives little praise in the media, particularly in comparison to the likes of Petr Cech, who is never as competent at VDS.
We could play him out of sentimentality, after it was his save that won us the European Cup back in May. However, he can just as easily be played on merit, after enjoying a fantastic season with us, followed by a brilliant Euro Championships with Holland, where he made several saves of the tournament.
Tomasz Kuszczak is a fairly safe keeper, and one I’m happy enough to see as our reserve. He is prone to the odd mistake (namely giving away penalties against Portsmouth and Arsenal, as well as making a mess of a save against Sporting Lisbon last season, costing us a goal at Old Trafford) but I don’t have too many complaints about him. However, I’d much rather Foster warming our bench.
If we are to send Foster out at the beginning of the season, it means he will miss the League Cup games. If we send him out for the second half of the season, it means he will miss out on the FA Cup.
However, after a year without regular football, due to the recovery from his cruciate injury, maybe it would be in Foster’s best long term interests to start for another Premiership club for another season. He could get his match fitness up and improve his experience, ready to come back to United next season to replace the retired Van der Sar.
Do you think we should loan Foster out again this season?